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Old 12-27-2011, 07:59 PM   #1
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Default Chain Link Fence Gate Compost Sifter

Hello WG Composters (Especially Eq),

Here are photos of a sifter that works pretty well for me. Tell you what, there are way too many bins out there and not nearly enough sifters. I couldn't get by without my sifters. For now I'll just address the 1" chicken wire sifter. I've got two others; one is nearly the same but uses 1/2" hardware cloth; the other uses 1/4" hardware cloth and is much smaller. Four photos are included in this description.

Photo 1 shows a batch of composted stuff (compost is a verb not a noun) that has been allowed to dry for a couple days. It used to look like the cyclindrical pile at the back. The surface is a concrete slab which used to support a hot tub before I got the place. A slab is great for composting. No worms get in the pile, but lacking teeth they don't help all that much anyway.

Photo 2 shows the stuff shoveled into a mound, the sifter, an industrial sized dustpan, and a snow shovel. The sifter is simply a 3' x 6' chain link fence gate that has a rectangular piece of chicken wire fastened to it. Sorry that the sifter details are hard to make out but that is a feature of a good sifter. Chicken wire can be a real pain - literally - it's easy to get scratched so be careful when you cut a piece to fit. The dustpan is great for picking up a load of stuff which is slowly poured onto the top of the sifter. Small pieces fall right through; bigger pieces get caught, but a gentle tapping with one's hand vibrates the sifter and gravity and the screen do their things. The snow shovel came from a garage sale and is great for moving piles around.

Photo 3 is a side view of the sifter and sifted stuff, mainly to show the angle of the sifter.

Finally, photo 4 shows the relative size of the sifted stuff and the coarse stuff. I want to achieve at least a 50% yield and that was the case here. It took 22 scoops and about 12 minutes to do the job. Note: This setup does not work well on a windy day.

I'll post more on this topic this weekend.

Regards,

Rob
Attached Thumbnails
Chain Link Fence Gate Compost Sifter-step1dryout.jpg   Chain Link Fence Gate Compost Sifter-step2readyforfirstsift.jpg   Chain Link Fence Gate Compost Sifter-step3sideviewafterfirstsift.jpg   Chain Link Fence Gate Compost Sifter-step4gradebnexttounfinished.jpg  
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:34 AM   #2
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Way cool!!!
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I HAVE the space to do this at the top of my driveway!!! My husband won't be all that thrilled but.... we could really use compost like this and I REALLY don't want to have to drive away from whole bags of leaves at the curb from a house that uses an organic lawn service ever again in my life. That's still eating away at me.
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For some reason when you were talking about a sifter I had this vision in my head of something permanently attached to an outside wall of my house and I know for sure that woulda been pushing it with my husband who likes everything neat and tidy. I want to run something by you.... it's just a thought because it looks like I need 3 bins... right? What do you think of me using these and bending them into a circle then attaching chicken wire or something, Behlen Country Hot - Dipped 4 Gauge Galvanized Fence Panel (Cattle) at Blain's Farm & Fleet ? I put up all the hog wire panels myself and attached chicken wire to them when I was making a run for our chickens so I figured out how to cut it and bend it on my own. I still don't have any chain link fence gate panels but I've been looking for them on Craigs list and freecycle. The way you are doing this would work for me because after I'm done using the panel... I could tuck it away behind my rain barrels out of view.
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BTW... I scored a 50' roll of chain link. Now all I need are end posts to attach it to and I can redo my big momma toss-everything-in-but-the-kitchen-sink composter out back.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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I love it I love it I LOVE IT!

Simple, but it works. The best part - I don't have to wait until hubby gets around to doing it. I can do it myself.

You're letting gravity do the work for you. It pulls the small pieces down, and the sharp angle means the big stuff shouldn't need too much coaxing to slide down the front.

Ingenious!

And you don't have to lift the screen off of what's holding it up to get to the compost - just scoop under the screen.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:46 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for the kind words!! Sounds like you have already made one?

A container underneath the sifter works pretty well at collecting the harvest. I have some thoughts on making a collector chute to focus the whole screen area into a small area (think funnel), and getting the thing off the ground so that the coarse material could go into another container. One step at a time and I'll share pictures when the next version is done.

Rob
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:11 PM   #5
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No, I didn't try it yet. But I will. Good idea about the container under the sifter. I rescued a wheelbarrow that the frame is broken, but the tub is fine. That should be big enough, but not too big.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
Way cool!!!
Sorry for the delayed reply...Thank you very much!!!
Quote:
I want to run something by you.... it's just a thought because it looks like I need 3 bins... right?
No, may I ask why you think you need three bins? Only the coarse material goes back into a bin...that which passes through the sifter gets put back onto the garden.
Quote:
What do you think of me using these and bending them into a circle then attaching chicken wire or something, Behlen Country Hot - Dipped 4 Gauge Galvanized Fence Panel (Cattle) at Blain's Farm & Fleet ?
I think they will probably work. You would use some kind of fasteners to join the ends and then when harvest time comes undo the fasteners so that the bin can be opened and lifted from the pile, right?
Quote:
BTW... I scored a 50' roll of chain link. Now all I need are end posts to attach it to and I can redo my big momma toss-everything-in-but-the-kitchen-sink composter out back.
I am not sure how well that will work...the gates work well because the chain link is tensioned. Please keep me posted!
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biigblueyes View Post
You're letting gravity do the work for you. It pulls the small pieces down, and the sharp angle means the big stuff shouldn't need too much coaxing to slide down the front.
Very insightful given you have not actually made and used such a sifter. I suspect you have a background in physics or engineering.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:06 PM   #8
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Nahhhhh. I know a thing or two about how things work. And everything I see about that just makes me say "it's so simple but wonderful, why didn't someone think of it before?"

(I will confess that hubby accuses me of thinking like an engineer, though).

I know where I'm going to put my sifter. Leaning against the side of the composter. I found an old tarp. I'll lay it on the ground and up the side, and lean the "sifter" against it to hold it up. Scoop, step, dump, repeat.

I hope to be able to try it out this weekend. I started clearing out the area and it's almost ready to go.
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